Donate to social organisations and earn a tax break


As Europe sees it largest movement of displaced people since the WW2 and our TV screens and newsfeeds are filled with every more heart breaking images of people fleeing war, persecution, and dictatorships, it’s natural to feel powerless and frustrated at how little you can help. Whilst grassroots movements across Europe are doing an excellent job in collecting and delivering practical donations for refugees camped in Calais or those landing in ever increasing numbers to the Greek islands of Kos and Lesbos and the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, a regular monthly donation to one of the many NGOs (ONGs in Spanish) that are working in the regions affected can provide longer term support and will continue to do so long after the media hot topic has died away.

Interestingly this is also a way to cut your own tax bill if you are tax resident in Spain and do the annual ‘Declaración de Renta’ which can mean you could ultimately donate more than you originally thought.

There are many reasons why people are moving in suddenly such huge numbers. One of those is the dwindling resources and lack of funding at refugee camps and refugee support agencies. A regular contribution allows NGOs to budget, plan and provide for those who need their help in a way that one off donations doesn’t allow.

So how does it work? An annual donation of 150€ in 2015 to a charitable organisation will give you a tax credit of 50% when it’s time to do the renta, that means you would get 75€ of that back from the Spanish government. Or put another way, if you could maybe only afford a 10€ a month regular donation, you could maybe push it to nearly 15€ because the Spanish government are picking up the extra.  The donation limit could be more depending on the charity you donate to and the requirements they comply with. In 2016 that tax credit will raise even higher to 75%. If you donate beyond 150€ annually a tax credit is still given on the amount above the first 150€ of around 27 – 30% and if you donate 150€+ for 2 years or more to the same organisation then that percentage increases also. There are also similar benefits for corporate donations so it’s worth speaking to a gestor if you own a business to understand more.

Nothing is required from you beyond the monthly payment and asking the organisation to send you a ‘certificado de donación’  and for you to complete form ‘Modelo 182’ at the time of the renta, although in reality the charity will usually send you the certificate automatically and your total donations will appear in your draft borrador statement anyway.

Here are some suggested ONGs with offices in Spain working with refugees:
Medicos Sin Fronteras
Oxfam Intermon

Researched and written by Claire Gledhill


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